From the Mamamia team:
The issue of vaccination is a major hot button right now – and shows no signs of being eradicated any time soon.
Not while people are continuing to expose others to misinformation -either deliberately or inadvertantly.
Sugar-free author and blogger Sarah Wilson faced a tsunami of opposition last week when she went on Sunrise and made some wildly ill-informed and inaccurate comments about vaccination, claiming research about the safety and efficacy of vaccines was “not conclusive”.
She also claimed that “the gold standard studies, right, that are done to really absolutely conclusively prove things, the double-blind placebo cross something or other tests have not been done”.
Those two arguments are very familiar to those who campaign against the lies and fear-mongering of the anti-vaccination lobby – they’re utterly false.
But clearly, the anti-vaxxers have been alarmingly effective in sewing seeds of doubt in certain pockets of the community. Particularly among those who are interested in alternative medicine, diets or lifestyles such as Sarah.
Immediately after making her comments, all manner of social media hell rained down on Sarah as she was very swiftly informed of the inaccuracy of her claims and the irresponsiblity of making them.
Some people were more polite than others – there’s a lot of emotion in this debate. And while there’s never an excuse for abuse, here is why so many people feel so strongly about this issue:
Vaccination is more than a personal choice, it’s a social responsibility. Like not driving drunk or not smoking around people who don’t want to breathe in your nicotine.
Because immunisation is something that effects everyone in our community and especially the vulnerable – those who can’t vaccinate because they are too young or too sick.
When you have someone in your life that falls into one of those categories or you or a loved one plans to have a baby some day, this issue cuts particularly deep. It can literally be a matter of life and death.
Dr Rachael Dunlop is a medical researcher, science communicator and campaigner for science-based medicine in Australia; she has previously written an article about vaccination myths for Mamamia. Now, she writes about what to do when you’re faced with anti-vax rehetoric or anyone who tries to deny science…